Jungle Gardens is off SR 329 on Avery Island. Subtropical flora, aged live oaks, mirror pools and sunken gardens cover 170 acres. Nurtured by businessman, explorer and conservationist Edward Avery McIlhenny, the once private property was opened to the public in 1935. Thousands of camellias, azaleas and irises are usually in bloom November through June.
The Bird City sanctuary, established by McIlhenny in 1895 to protect the nearly extinct snowy egret, is home to more than 20,000 herons and egrets during nesting season. Alligators and deer also are part of the gardens' abundant wildlife. The tranquil Chinese Garden contains bamboo stands and a Buddha dating from A.D. 1000.
An audio tour by cellphone is available. Guided bird tours also are available with 24-hour advance reservation.